Hello my adventurous world travelers. Another thirty one days, another 44,640 minutes, and yet another 2,678,400 seconds have elapsed, dragging out the stories of our lives with more nouns, adjectives, verbs, and punctuation along the way. My particular novel was bursting with chapters this month because so many different events changed in my life. Most importantly, July was the first month I’ve ever lived on my own in college. The sometimes brutal transition from a cozy home life to a cramped dorm with unhygienic people you’ve never met before can be hard, but it’s been rather seamless for me. I’ve experienced a wild amount of things this past month, from Swing dancing to ceramic painting to attending a stereotypical frat party with fountains of cheap alcohol. So what was I into this month?
- The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
An old man. A young boy. A wide, unending sea peppered with life and the dead. That’s basically the summary of this pithy 127 page novel that Hemingway wrote in 1952. Although the storyline was boring and each sentence was strung together with short, uninteresting words and simple phrases, I still enjoyed this quick read. The metaphors behind the dull imagery (i.e. the patched mass, the unrelenting massive fish, and the roaming lions on the beach in Santiago’s dream) were incredibly rich, heavy, and thought-provoking. I loved the description of the masculine lions owning the beaches of Africa because they represented vitality and youth that had slipped through Santiago’s hand due to the acceleration of time. The young boy woven throughout the rather spare plot was also poignant, especially because he cared and respected the “old man” so tenderly.
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I’m currently only 230 pages into this tempestuous Russian beast, but I’m absolutely in love with its style and characters already. Although the initial declaration of love between Anna and Count Vronsky was hasty and dramatic, the descriptions of their facial animation and sensual body language were beautiful. I know how this psychological drama ends, but I realized this novel wasn’t just about a silly extramarital affair about two rich courtiers. The life stories of many other colorful characters (i.e. Nicholas and Levin) are laced throughout the thousand words, providing more food for thought than Anna or Vronsky alone ever could.
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas
Rage, rage against the dying of the light! I first saw this epic poem about dying and old age freshmen year of high school, but I always remembered it because of its desperate tone and vivid diction about fighting against the extinguishing of life. Since I’m watching Interstellar in my Astronomy class, this well known poem has reappeared in my mind in the creeping, warbling voice of Dr. Brand.
Other literature I’ve been enjoying:
- Double Take by Kevin Connolly
- Experiencing Tchaikovsky, A Listener’s Companion by David Schroeder
- Beethoven by Warhol
Warhol soaked this silkscreen in 1987, and it the quintessential pop art piece. I love how Beethoven, with his wild hair and crazed eyes, is layered with garish hues of blue, red, and yellow! It’s classical culture slashed by modernism, but I do think this rendition has a certain appeal/juxtaposition to it. This work resides in the Harn Museum in Gainesville among the stereotypical dollar signs and blotted flowers that Warhol is famous for. Also, the overlap of sketchy music notes adds a collage-like effect to the salad of quarter notes and gaudy tones.
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky by Kuznetsov
I seem to have a slight obsession with Russian composers and authors, and the illustrious Tchaikovsky is no exception. This suave portrait, so intense, emotional, and lusty at the same time, is bursting with dramatic feeling and talent. The fiery look kindled in Tchaikovsky’s eyes is so immediate and enthralling, as if begging the viewer to wonder “what is raging within this storm man’s mind?” Pyotr is my favorite composer of all time, so I am quite enamored with this glorious depiction of his passionate character. I also find the harsh green brushstrokes bring out the gleam of his deep set and intriguing eyes.
Month by month, this “music” category keeps expanding, crawling ever lower down the webpage as my knowledge and love affair with classical music burgeons more deeply. Contrasted to my rather depressing music favorites last month, I was enamored with playful, bantering, and romantic melodies this July.
- Liebestraum by Franz Liszt
- Suite from The Gadfly, Romance by Dmitri Shostakovich
- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas
- Dance of the Arabians by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
I’ve watched a multitude of films this month, mostly because my university library has endless shelves of DVDs to check out. I may or may not have cheekily entered the Wes Anderson cult because his movies are extremely artistic and contain delicious juxtapositions…
- The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson
- Darjeeling Limited by Wes Anderson
- Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson
- Amadeus by Miloš Forman
Watch Mozart’s ridiculously hilarious laugh here!
- Immortal Beloved by Bernard Rose
- The Pianist by Roman Polanski
What have you been in love with this month?